James Neumann, chairman and CEO of Optic Outdoor Signs, has earned recognition in the field of billboard marketing for a career filled with innovation, being noted among the “50 Pioneers and Visionaries of Advertising” by Advertising Age, and the “Five Original Thinkers of the ‘90s” by Chicago Magazine. At his current position, James Neumann now operates the largest privately held outlet of billboards in the US, taking in 45 million viewers on a monthly basis through displays of over 300 billboards across three countries.
Odd as it might seem for a forward thinker to be associated with such a traditional form of advertising, the truth of the matter is that it is still very effective, according to recent research. One study in 2011 noted that more than two-thirds of drivers frequently take note of billboards, and over one-third have reported a regular habit of checking them at almost every occasion, while a majority credit billboards with informing them on upcoming events, or suggesting restaurants they later visit.
This is not to suggest there’s no room for evolution in the medium, however. While plenty of paper billboards are still strewn throughout the United States, digital billboards are rapidly replacing them. They may be more costly to produce and maintain, but they can also be much more effective by offering engaging animated visuals, and use their space more efficiently by allowing a series of advertisements to rotate through their displays, effectively allowing advertisers to share the board. It’s worth noting that in a time when some are feeling overwhelmed by advertising, digital billboards are actually regarded with some favor – nearly three-quarters of viewers consider digital billboards to be not only a good medium for advertisement, but more effective than online ads.